NEW YORK — The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers and the Vietnamese State Agency for Technological Innovation are working with IBM and FXA in a pilot project to develop a system that will use RFID technology to track Vietnam's $4.25 billion in seafood exports.
The system will be tested at selected Vietnamese farms that export seafood to retailers in Japan, the U.S. and Europe, and will focus on the collection of critical data regarding each batch of seafood — which farm it came from, where it was processed, its current location, temperature and other relevant data. Individual boxes of frozen shrimp will also be traceable with a serial number. The goal is to allow parties throughout the supply chain, including importers and retailers, to pinpoint the source of any contamination, quickly arrange targeted recalls and minimize the number of people affected.
“Vietnam has made great strides in evolving its seafood systems in recent years and this effort is yet another example of the premium they place on improved global food safety,” said Gavin Gibbons, spokesman for the National Fisheries Institute, McLean, Va.
Better traceability could help address several problems. In 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced an import alert on contaminated seafood from China. Since then seafood exporters have dealt with a series of lower-profile scandals involving short-weighting and transshipment.